In the quest for the best IT partner, there are many factors to consider. Will their business style be a good fit for your company? Are they easy to reach when there is a problem? Can they visit on-site if needed? What does after-hours service look like? When considering Managed IT companies there can be an overwhelming amount of questions you want to ask. To make the process a bit easier, we have compiled a list of the most important factors to consider based on our experience in the industry.
Hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) with technical and industry expertise seems obvious, right? Of course, but how can you determine what that expertise looks like when you are not in the industry yourself? A true expert MSP will have a team of support staff for quick and efficient problem-solving. The efficiency of the team overall can typically be found by asking for their average problem resolution time. Another tried and true method for determining the expertise of the team is tenure and retention of staff. With consistent and accurate documentation that is communicated through the entire IT team, a great MSP will be able to provide your team with the best support.
In the business world, 5 minutes could save you 15%… you get the picture. Minimal downtime is crucial to any business operation and making sure that there is a reliable support team on your side can prevent any unnecessary shutdowns. In the MSP world, this can be measured using the average ticket time and first contact resolution rate, to name a few. Transparent communication of speed and efficiency should be a key component to any IT providers’ sales pitch.
Many managed network service providers frequently talk about their ability to provide 24/7 support for your network. What they often don’t talk about, however, is what they do to spot and take care of potential threats before they become an issue in the first place.
Top-tier providers understand that prevention is just as important, if not more, than successfully handling disasters when they happen. When talking to potential providers, ask them about their support process and find out if they focus just as much on prevention as they do the reaction.
While you do want to hone in on providers that have worked with similarly sized organizations, it’s still important they’re not simply offering “cookie-cutter” solutions. Talk to potential providers about your specific technological needs for how you’d like your network to be run, and make sure they’re able to handle it.
In addition, ask about how they handle scalability to ensure that you can efficiently grow your business without having to worry about your network letting you down.
Trust is everything when making a huge purchasing decision. Would you purchase a car from a salesperson you can’t trust? The key to finding a transparent and honest business partner is to ask questions. Someone with an extensive industry background should be able to walk through worst-case scenarios, past client issues that they have helped resolve, and may even be able to help with an issue that your old provider could not solve.
Another major factor when it comes to transparency in business is the ability to discuss price upfront. Our article, “5 Factors That Affect Managed IT Pricing” should give your team a good baseline to start from. By using the Managed IT Buyer’s Checklist above, you will be able to discuss pricing quickly to see if it fits within your business model vs sitting through numerous meetings before ever getting to the punchline.
Any reputable and local MSP will have businesses in the area that you can call as a reference. Although this is always an option, we recommend taking a non-biased approach by reaching out to your local network to see if anyone has used the IT provider before. Google reviews and other online feedback are also a great way to get quick feedback on the business. For managed service providers, the Net Promotor Score (NPS) is typically one of the top indicators for good service. The NPS is used to gather feedback from verified clients and is readily available through your salesperson.
Managed IT providers typically follow one of three package styles: all-inclusive, per-user, or per-device. In most cases, an all-inclusive package is best for offices with 10 to 74 workstations. They typically consist of monitoring and management, cyber-security, helpdesk, backup, and disaster recovery.
The per-user package option is great for smaller companies that may not need an all-inclusive package. Keep in mind that if the team does not frequently need technical support, a business may be overspending with the per-user pricing model.
Does your company already have some internal IT support, but want to protect higher-level employees’ devices? Then the per-device option may be for you. The per-device bundle typically sways more on the a-la-carte side with varying prices based on the number of devices, among other factors.
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